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Press Release

08/27/2008 5:33 PM ET
MLBPA files grievance over Commissioner’s Office unilateral decision to extend signing deadline

NEW YORK -- The following statement was issued today by Major League Baseball Players Association General Counsel, Michael Weiner.

"The Major League Baseball Players Association today filed a Grievance challenging the unilateral decision of the Commissioner's Office to extend the August 15, 2008 signing deadline for drafted players. The Association and the Commissioner's Office have agreed to expedited processing of this Grievance, with the intention of bringing the matter to hearing as early as September 10, 2008.

"In the 2006 round of collective bargaining, the Players Association agreed to establish an August 15 signing deadline for drafted players with remaining collegiate eligibility. The firm deadline was a Club bargaining demand, and agreement on it was part of a broader set of compromises by the parties related to the reserve system and the draft.

"Within hours after this year's August 15 midnight deadline passed, the Players Association learned from several sources that the Commissioner's Office had extended the deadline for negotiating and reporting signings with drafted players. This was done without notice to or consultation with the Players Association, despite a firm deadline having been established through collective bargaining. The Players Association, after discussions with the Commissioner's Office, players, agents and other parties, viewed it necessary to file a Grievance challenging this plainly unlawful unilateral act by the Commissioner's Office. The grievance was not filed on behalf of any particular player. It is the union's obligation, on behalf of all players, to defend the integrity of its collectively bargained agreements and to ensure that those agreements are respected and honored by the Clubs.

"I have read the statement issued by Frank Coonelly, President of the Pittsburgh Pirates, regarding Pedro Alvarez. Frank's statement also refers to the contract between Eric Hosmer and the Kansas City Royals. The Association, after further investigation and the processing of the Grievance, will determine what relief it will seek from the Arbitration Panel, including whether it will seek relief related to agreements accepted by the Commissioner's Office after the collectively bargained signing deadline.

"Moreover, based on information gathered to date by the Association, Frank's statement is inaccurate in a number of respects. While the Association will not respond specifically through the press, we are confident that, at hearing, the Panel will agree that the Commissioner's Office acted improperly when it unilaterally changed the terms of the deal it struck with the Association in 2006."